What are Pseudocoprostasis?
Pseudocoprostasis typically occurs to breeds that have long hair. Once the matted hair grows over the anus, it makes it difficult for the dog to defecate. The feces against the skin can make the area become irritated and infected. The feces can also attract flies that will the lay their larvae (maggots) on the dog, causing more irritation to the dog’s skin. The maggots can actually burrow into the dog’s skin. Maggots can also cause skin to die (necrosis). The maggots will feed on the dog’s skin and cause severe secondary infections.
Pseudocoprostasis becomes a very painful condition to the dog. It is also an unsanitary condition for the pet and his family. Feces may get on your floors and furniture. There are parasites, fungus and bacteria that may be transmitted to humans by the dog’s feces.
Pseudocoprostasis is the condition where excrement and hair become matted around the anus area. Eventually the rectum becomes obstructed by the entangled mass of hair and feces.
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Symptoms of Pseudocoprostasis in Dogs
Symptoms of pseudocoprostasis may include one or more of the following.
- Matted hair around the anus
- Foul smell coming from the dog
- Dog scooting his rectum on the floor
- Lack of appetite
Causes of Pseudocoprostasis in Dogs
Pseudocoprostasis in dogs is caused by:
- Lack of grooming
- Loose stool or diarrhea not cleaned off the fur
- Neglect of the dog
Diagnosis of Pseudocoprostasis in Dogs
The veterinarian will ask for a medical history of your dog. He will ask you what symptoms you have observed and when they started, and will also ask questions pertaining to past travel, recent illnesses, and changes to dietary habits. He will perform a physical examination of your companion. The examination may include using a stethoscope to listen to your pet’s lungs and heart, palpation of the abdomen and lymph nodes, and checking the ears and eyes.
He will be able to diagnose pseudocoprostasis during the physical exam. The veterinarian may suggest blood work such as a complete blood count (CBC) and a urinalysis to rule out a bacterial infection. He may also want to check for parasites.
Treatment of Pseudocoprostasis in Dogs
The matted hair around and on the anus will need to be trimmed off and the fecal matter must be removed. The dog will also need to be bathed; oatmeal shampoo may be soothing to the irritated skin. When the matting is severe, the dog should be taken to a reputable, professional groomer. Removing the matted hair is a slow process, to ensure not to hurt the dog’s sensitive skin.
The dog’s bedding will need to be washed. If the veterinarian diagnosed your dog with a bacterial infection, he will be prescribed antibiotics. Parasites will be eliminated with a dewormer, The yard and the dog’s bedding and living space will need to be cleaned. A diluted bleach solution works well to kill parasites. A member of the veterinary team can give exact instructions on how best to sterilize the items and your dog’s surroundings.
Patients that had maggots on and in their skin will have to have the maggots removed and the skin will need to be wiped down with a disinfectant. In severe cases, maggot infestations may require skin grafts. The veterinarian may recommend bathing the dog with a prescribed medicated shampoo. If the maggots caused a secondary bacterial infection, the patient will be prescribed oral and topical antibiotics.
Recovery of Pseudocoprostasis in Dogs
Once the hair and feces are removed the prognosis of pseudocoprostasis is very good. Follow-up visits will be necessary for patients with bacterial infections or parasites. Bloodwork will need to be retaken on the patient. Dogs that had a maggot infestation will need follow- up visits to check for the growth of new maggots and to monitor secondary bacterial infections.
It is very important that the dog is groomed on a regular basis so the pseudocoprostasis does not reoccur. Matting becomes very painful and uncomfortable to your dog. Severe matting can affect the dog’s blood circulation, and can cut off blood supply to the extremities. In these severe cases the matted hair can actually cause the limb to have to be amputated. The entangled hair will also make the skin irritated and may lead to open infected lesions.
Long haired dogs must be brushed daily to prevent matted hair. If the dog has a loose stool or diarrhea gets on his fur, it needs to be cleaned off. Baby wipes work very well to clean the rectum and hair.
Some dog breeds should have their hair trimmed every few weeks:
- Cocker Spaniel
- Afghan Hound
- Bichon Frise
- Chow Chow
- Lhasa Apso
- Shih Tzu
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Old English Sheepdog
- Great Pyrenees
Pseudocoprostasis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Our dog has multiple bowel movements a day. Tonight he started acting depressed or scared. He ate his meal but wouldn't take a treat. We noticed he smelled like poop. I've been with him all day and not noticed, even though he was sitting next to me. I took him out side to let him try, and noticed him having difficulty. So I brought him in the house and noticed a big ball of feces. I put him in the bath, and thoroughly cleaned him pulling everything out. Leaving a clean exposed anus. I didn't notice any maggots or rash. My main concern was there was some blood in the stool as I cleaned him. And he is still lethargic. Should I take him in to his vet in the morning? He is a 5 year old shitzu and he was perfectly normal last night and this morning.
I had a similar situation as Bentley a few days ago. When I had cut out the mat, my dogs stool was loose and had blood and mucous. But I assumed it was a symptom of the stress and constipation.
But it's been 2 days and there is still blood in my dogs stool. Should I take her to the vet. She's also had a change in diet to a mix or dry and canned food, because of teeth problems
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